When it comes to bike-friendly cities, Denver’s reputation is growing. The city ranked fourth in the nation for its bike policies in a recent study by Redfin. Now Governor John Hickenlooper has set his sights toward improving even that, noting that he wants to make the entire state of Colorado “the best state for biking.”
“Biking can be such a positive force, and I think being the best biking state is going to fuel economic growth and tourism. It’s going to lead us toward a cleaner environment, and it’s going to help us be the healthiest state in America,” Hickenlooper said.
That’s a big goal, and the governor is putting big money where his mouth is, pledging to allocate $100 million for the task. According to the Denver Post, the governor’s plan will commit $90 million to developing bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Another $10 million will go toward maintaining and growing the state’s Safe Routes to School program.
Hickenlooper announced his plan at Interbike, a bike trade event in Las Vegas. As reported by the Post, he noted that bike lanes on road shoulders, signage and other cycling considerations “are going to be the norm, not the exception, in Colorado’s transportation network for the future.”
Priority initially will be given to cataloging and connecting trails statewide, including natural, paved and bike lanes. The governor expects the improvements to help lure cycling tourists and improve the number of people who commute to work on bikes.
Hickenlooper lauded the bike culture in Denmark, where more than half of the population pedals to work, compared with fewer than 1% in the U.S. “Denmark clearly shows the benefits of making these long-term investments within narrow, achievable plans,” said the governor.
Denver has already made significant gains, falling only behind Minneapolis, San Francisco and Portland in Redfin’s nationwide ranking of bike-friendly cities. The ranking was based on miles of bike lanes, hills, road connectivity and the percent of commuters traveling by bicycle.